Deer Creek – XX

8.7.10 (Wendy Rogell)

Phish stepped into Deer Creek last night for their 20th show in the cornfields on the 14-year anniversary of 8.13.96 – their first massive freak scene in the storied venue – and one night after playing one of their strongest second sets of tour. The likelihood of of a colossal show last night was all but a given. But instead of delving deep on this special date, Phish balanced out the exploration of Deer Creek’s opener with a tight, song-based show that never quite elevated, and featured scarce open improvisation. Holding back on most of their central jam vehicles throughout Deer Creek’s shows, Phish has set up a two-night blowout in Alpine Valley.

8.7.10 (W.Rogell)

The first set featured a slew of old school songs, including “Guelah Papyrus” for the first time this year, and “Axilla,” “I Didn’t Know” and “Curtis Loew” for the first time on this run. But the most notable song choice was the 3.0 debut of “Walls of the Cave,” a song synonymous with the post-hiatus era. The piece sounded clean, slower than remembered and quite polished, as Phish switched up the old-school vibe with this mid-set treat. The band moved through the composed half of “Walls” with notable patience, allowing the intricate piece to breathe. Moving the “Silent Trees” section with some creative, breakneck playing, Phish locked in before dropping into one of the set’s improvisational highlights in “Stash.” Containing astute, full-band interplay, Phish pushed the piece through a melodic interlude amidst the sinister build. Some fierce work from Big Ern brought this one to the top, punctuating a succinct, yet powerful version. The other pieces of structured first set improv came in a standout “Ocelot” and a blistering “Possum” that closed the first half. These two pieces provided opposite feels, as the band wove a delicate blues-rock canvas in “Ocelot” and powered through a “Possum” like a locomotive. All told, the first set provided an entertaining string of well-played songs with several high points, but unfortunately, the same vibe permeated the second set.

8.7.10 (W.Rogell)

The band delivered the second stanza in two distinct sections – first, the dark and improvisational, and second, the light and fluffy. Front-loading the set with a promising sequence of “Light > 46 Days > Maze,” the band had the show in the palm of their hand. But instead of furthering the set by taking another launch pad off the shelf, the rest of the set fizzled into a summertime sing-along with “Meatstick > Mango,” “Fluffhead,” and Julius.” Kicking off the set with “Halley’s Comet” on Deer Creek’s second night, one felt that maybe this would be the time for an outright explosion of the crowd favorite. But in typical fashion, they segued into “Light” out the shortened song for the third time this summer. Following The Greek’s best-ever version of their newest vehicle what lied behind door number two was anyone’s guess.

Opening with a spirited composed jam, the band broke “Light’s” structure and entered a rolling, bass-led segment that brought the band out into earnest experimentation. Trey and Mike hooked up immediately, providing the foundation of the piece, offering symbiotic leads. As this section of another multi-tiered “Light” came to an organic end, the band downshifted into a spacey-ambient plane and slowly climbed out of the placid textures in a sparkling cooperative conversation that highlighted the version. But as the jam began to get truly gripping, Trey took a left turn for the end of the song, bringing back its lyrical reprise. Stretching “Light’s” ending into a drone outro, the band created a sonic bridge into “46 Days.”

8.7.10 (Wendy Rogell)

Though “46 Days” has showed up in a few second sets this summer, it has rarely spurned anything beyond bombastic guitar energy. When placed in this central spot, however, one wouldn’t have been crazy to think Phish would weave an improvisational tale. But again the band sat into an energy-based version of the heavy rocker. Instead of bringing the song to a concluding vocal round like previous summer renditions Phish drifted into another section of abstract ambiance that seamlessly bled into “Maze.” This initial sequence illustrated legitimate attempts to make smoother transitions between songs, albeit via ambient passages, but that intention, alone, is a positive sign in the band’s progression. Centering “Maze” in the second set for the second time this tour, the band again tore apart another scorching version showcasing stellar solos from Page and Trey while Mike backed the music with creative bass lines, enhancing the jam’s appeal.

8.7.10 (W.Rogell)

After bringing “Maze’s” mania to a head, closing the set’s opening sequence it certainly felt like time for some gooier dance music. Taking the road less traveled, a common theme of these Deer Creek shows the band unveiled the second “Meatstick” of 2010, signaling a stylistic turn in the direction of the set. While Merriweather’s version took off into a funk excursion, this rendition never left the song’s structure, but rather oozed into a slick DJ-style segue with “Mango Song.” Layering the two summer anthems over each other, Phish took their time to craft a smooth segue once again. The rest of the set followed a similar jam-less route, pairing “Fluffhead” and “Julius” in an underwhelming ending to the show. But when the band stepped back for a double encore, they capped the night with a magnificent “Slave” in which Trey shone from the first note to last.

Deer Creek’s second night, while entertaining, never gained that undeniable momentum of memorable second sets. By assembling two creative setlists in Indiana, Phish sent their Midwestern circus up to Alpine Valley for two nights with many of their largest musical springboards ready to explode. It’s time to get dirty in dairy land…

I: Chalk Dust Torture, Guelah Papyrus, My Sweet One, Axilla, I Didn’t Know, Walls of the Cave, Stash, Train Song, Backwards Down the Number Line, Ocelot, The Ballad of Curtis Loew, Wilson, Possum

II: Halley’s Comet > Light > 46 Days > Maze, Meatstick > The Mango Song, Fluffhead, Julius

E: Contact, Slave to the Traffic Light

8.7.10 (Wendy Rogell)

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648 Responses to “Deer Creek – XX”

  1. Mitch Says:

    What’s the use pulled out at alpine. Bollocks.

    Reading back. Nice to see neemor behind a keyboard again. Hell, nice to be posting myself again.

    Frankie just landed. Time for a nightcap soon.

  2. ChefBradford Says:

    Much preferred without the lyrics, thank you

    What’s the use in going fast
    when you’re not in a race
    something something something something
    something steady pace

    or something

  3. Frycanthropist Says:

    into mule?

  4. jdub Says:

    Fuck your face and what’s the use in the same show. And I bet they both fit perfectly.

  5. Oldskool Says:

    Mule is an interesting call here, very curious to hear it myself

  6. Mr. Murph Says:

    There is that damn Mule. I hope its a long one. Lazer Beams flying everywhere!

  7. ChefBradford Says:

    was FYF standalone, or > ?

  8. Mitch Says:

    gavinsdad Says:
    August 14th, 2010 at 8:13 pm
    upon closer inspection i thought the transition from meatstick and mango was kinda nice. what am i missing here (before lyrical flubs)?

    ^what do you mean? That transition was slick. Choppy mango but the switch was dope. Frankie had it pegged a mile away. I was too spaced out til he brought me to earth.

  9. Frycanthropist Says:

    my guess is that Benevento comes out during the Mule Duel

  10. Mr. Murph Says:

    According to it was stand alone. Every song has been tonight other than Oh Kee>Suzy

  11. Mitch Says:

    And even still he and I were going apeshit looking like dorks a good 30 seconds before the other 25k in attendance.

  12. Mr. Murph Says:

    Everyone has said how much they like the Meatstick>Mango segue but I do not like it at all. Trey comes in with the obvious riff and everyone keeps chuggin. Fishman eventually switches but Page is almost fighting it to me. It seemed like Page didn’t want to stop meatstick’n but eventually gave up.

    My 2 cents

  13. jdub Says:

    It is uncanny mango. Good reason to be going nuts, besides being at a phish show.

  14. oneshowatatime Says:

    false dinner bell. i just noticed, that was a really long first set, huh?

  15. gavinsdad Says:

    @mitch – had just heard a little grumbling…i just listened to it moments ago and i dug it…page was holding tight but then he switched over…twas nice.

  16. gavinsdad Says:

    need a big boy here post Mule

  17. Frycanthropist Says:

    gotta be either ghost or tweezer

  18. Spasm Waiter Says:

    I agree. Not a smooth transition. Also, short meatstick. Coould’ve gone longer and larger. Still, a cool run of music.

  19. Oldskool Says:


  20. jdub Says:

    Mikes it is,

  21. Mr. Murph Says:

    Indeed Spasm, that 2nd set is great. Meatstick and Mango are personal favorites.

  22. gavinsdad Says:

    wheres the undermind

  23. neemor Says:

    I’m gonna just hop in and say this:
    Those of you (us) who have been disappointed with Phish’s choice of openers for second set and their predictability….

  24. neemor Says:


  25. gavinsdad Says:

    romeen – what up. see ya next week.

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